Broadcasting and Cable
By John Eggerton
FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly met with the leadership of various content watchdog groups this week and assured them that enforcing TV decency was a priority.
According to Morality in Media president Patrick Trueman, who was among those at the meeting, O’Rielly reaffirmed that commitment, made at his confirmation hearing. O’Rielly’s office confirmed the meeting.
At that Sept. 18 hearing, O’Rielly suggested he understood and shared congressional concerns about content. He said he would enforce the indecency laws and would want to review the reason behind the FCC’s dismissal of a raft of complaints.
The FCC has also had a backlog of complaints that held up some license renewals.
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling that the FCC had not given broadcasters sufficient notice about its indecency policy, then-FCC chairman Julius Genachowski adopted an interim policy of pursuing complaints about only egregious violations, while seeking comment on whether that should be its new policy going forward. The FCC has not yet weighed in.
It has been relatively quiet on the indecency front lately, with the usual complaints from the Parents Television Council about this or that Fox show but no proposed indecency fines or findings, though there was a November 2013 consent decree entered into with Liberman Broadcasting to settle an indecency complaint.
Wheeler has said that, as a grandfather, there is some TV content he has issues with, but has indicated his preferred approach is using the bully pulpit to exhort broadcasters to heed the angels of their better programming natures.